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Warner is a gem!

A Letter Celebrating the Gift of Warner: When I say that Warner is a gem, I say it from the perspective of a parent that has brought her three children to learn about the landscapes and creatures of Warner’s diverse and beautiful location over 10 years of summer camps.

Whether it be learning to be a Junior Naturalist, taking Ultimate Survival, having fun around water in the Canoeing/Kayaking class or Fly-Fishing, snapping photos in Nature Photography, or focusing on dragonfly species, my kids have all had their best summer camp experiences at Warner Nature Center. The naturalists and staff have always been warm and welcoming, taking time to learn about each of their campers, and making every child feel at home at Warner.

Heather's daughter, Katie, with Krista, a WNC naturalist, during a summer program called Nature Photography.

My kids, Katie, Henry, and Elliott, admired their teachers at Warner, and I have to say that nowhere else in the world will you find a better group of role models! Partly because of their summers at Warner, currently, all my children want to study some discipline of biology when they grow up.

When I call Warner a gem, I also say it from the perspective as a newer Volunteer Trail Guide that has embraced the chance over the last year to help connect kids to the natural world around them as they visited Warner for field trips. The smiles and the joy we witness on a student’s face when they spot fresh animal tracks in the snow, when they hold a songbird on the palm of their hand before flight, when they touch bog moss or see a carnivorous plant for the first time—these hands-on experiences feel priceless and so valuable in a world so dominated by constant connectedness via our electronic devices.

To experience the world via our multiple senses that are not battery operated rescues us from stress, anxiety, and brings us back to that original form of play that nurtured our minds as small children. The kind of play that makes us human and compassionate! As a volunteer trail guide, I also see Warner as a gem for its unique position as a multigenerational environmental education center. We have preschool programs, camps through the teen years, young adult interns, and adults of all ages that trail guide.

Whereas I have only been at Warner as a volunteer for a year, others have been working beside the naturalists for 50 plus years! I have never seen any other nature center operate in this enriching and multigenerational manner. In today’s busy world, in general, we don’t often get a chance to have this type of interaction. Warner brings us all together and we learn from each other to become better teachers and stewards of the land. When I drive to Warner, the instant I pull off the pavement of Norell Ave and hit the gravel of Warner’s driveway, I feel a huge sense of calm.

I can only imagine how many others feel themselves take a huge breath in and out as they relax upon arriving at Warner. It makes me truly sad to imagine that come December 2019, we may be losing Warner Nature Center forever. I can only hope that the generosity that prevailed for decades may swing once again in favor of giving many more decades of magical experiences to kids and adults of all ages!

Thank you for everything that you have done and do for Warner Nature Center, thank you, thank you! Sincerely, Heather Norton-Bower

This story was shared by:

Heather Norton-Bower

Parent of 3 children that have spent time at Warner and also a Warner Nature Center Trail Guide.


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Disclaimer: The content of this website strictly reflects the views and opinions of a group of Warner Nature Center volunteers wishing to continue the legacy of Warner Nature Center and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the staff of Warner Nature Center nor the staff of the Science Museum of Minnesota.